Review by Matt Paprocki



Graphics: 5

Sound: 6

Gameplay: 2

Overall: 3

Well, at least they tried something different. Unfortunately, it's too different. "Immercenary" is an oddball early first-person shooter with high hopes. It takes advantages of everything the 3DO can do. That just never adds up to a great gameplay experience.

Thrown into a future virtual reality world after a distress signal is received, players are seemingly lost in technology, blasting away at Goners, goofy polygonal programs run amok. Rithms are higher ranked enemies, allowing players to level up higher after they are defeated.

That seems to be one of the main problems. There's simply too much going on. Players have three bars at the top of the screen, none of which are ever explained in either the instruction book on in some tutorial. One ends up being weapons, the next being health, the final one being really stupid, agility. Once the latter goes down, you need to rest. In other words, that means "stop completely in the middle of a war zone while bullets pop you in the back because you're tired." Genius.

The other meters can be replenished by finding certain zones in each confined space. These are plentiful, but never seem to be close enough when you need them. Of course, right when you need one, your agility will be too low to make the trip and you'll die just before the jaunt is over. That's a frustration factor incomprehensible to anyone who has not played the game. It sounds bad enough, it's even worse during gameplay.

Controlling the lead character is a chore. Since you're really into a completely different world you don't walk, you glide. It's a feature solely included to be different just for the sake of being different. It adds nothing to the game, makes stopping to avoid an energy blast impossible, and puts the control out of the player's hands. That's a critical, inexcusable mistake.

Packed with some rather stylish yet poorly acted FMV, the story of "Immercenary" is told well enough. In game, the fully polygonal realms are solid, though usually oppressed with fog or darkness, blocking those precious re-fueling points from sight. Character design is rather ridiculous and sometimes disturbing (it seems the female Rithms forgot to bring along clothes). The audio is just as depressing, but the soundtrack does have its moments.

With that early flood of FPSs after "Doom," this was probably one of the first to really try something wildly different. It has some great ideas, maybe even too many. This game could've been great with just a few of the pieces, but together there wasn't enough attention paid to it all. Originality is appreciated, just not in this form.


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Last updated: Friday, February 25, 2005 07:08 AM